Gov. Doug Ducey on June 28 reimposing restrictions on certain businesses after acknowledging that his prior decision to ease them resulted in a spike of new COVID-19 cases.

Five more residents at Rim Country Health and Rehabilitation have died from COVID-19 this week, facility officials report.

In total, eight RCH residents have died after contracting the coronavirus.

The facility has seen 44 cases among residents and 22 with the staff as of July 8, according to Tabitha Meyer, administrator of RCH in Payson.

“It’s heartbreaking to share we lost five residents in the past week. Each was a long-term care resident with underlying conditions, which also tested positive for COVID-19. RCH extends our sympathies and prayers to the families of our five residents. Residents who passed at RCH, and at a Valley hospital, each had nurses by their side,” Meyer said.

Among RCH residents, 16 have active cases and 20 have recovered.

There are nine active cases among RCH staff and 13 have recovered. There have been no deaths among staff.

Continued specimen collections and testing provide the outcome of a positive or negative classification, Meyer said. Detecting does not mean that infectious virus is present, she added.

Know the symptoms: respiratory infection, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever.

Additional symptoms include dizziness, aches and pains and swelling.

RCH says it will continue to be transparent and report information to families, the county, the state and the CDC swiftly when there are additional positive cases and related deaths, Meyer said. Retesting of residents and staff continues.

“Please educate yourself on the precautions and symptoms surrounding this virus. Wearing a mask, distancing when in close quarters, washing/sanitizing hands frequently, and getting tested,” she said. “Please continue to keep our residents and staff in your prayers.”

As of July 8, Gila County Health & Emergency Management reported 249 cases and 11 deaths. Payson has 119 of the cases, according to the county’s report; there are 88 in Globe; 22 in Miami; six in Pine; five in Star Valley; five in Claypool; two in Tonto Basin; and one each in Hayden and Winkelman.

Statewide numbers

In a report on Wednesday, Howard Fischer with Capitol Media Services, reported Arizona’s rate of new infections of COVID-19 was skyrocketing.

An analysis of figures by Fischer showed that there were nearly 27,000 new confirmed cases in the most recent seven-day period available.

“Looking at it another way, that computes out to nearly 3,700 new infections this past week for every million Arizona residents,” he wrote.

In a story published by the New York Times, it put the figure closer to 3,300.

“But even at that, the paper says the rate of new infections here, computed at a rate of per million residents, is higher not just than any state in the nation, but any other country in the world,” Fischer reported.

The Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University figures that, on a seven-day average, Arizona is now adding 3,452 new cases each and every day.

In June, the figure was 843.

In May it was 337 new cases each day on average. And in April it was just 191.

State health officials say the most recent figures show there were a record 3,421 hospital beds occupied by positive or suspected COVID-19 patients.

That’s more than the number of patients hospitalized for any other reason. Overall, 6,784 of the state’s regular hospital beds were occupied, 85% of the regular capacity.

The situation was even more pronounced for intensive-care units, where there are 871 COVID-19 patients, also a new record. Patients in ICUs for other reasons were only about 600, with total occupancy now at 91%, Fischer reports.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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